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Morphometric materials for analyzing Eulipotyphlans across the Paleocene-Eocene-Thermal Maximum

Citation

Vitek, Natasha (2021), Morphometric materials for analyzing Eulipotyphlans across the Paleocene-Eocene-Thermal Maximum, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.mkkwh70zr

Abstract

Interpreting the impact of climate change on vertebrates in the fossil record can be complicated by the effects of potential biotic drivers on morphological patterns observed in taxa. One promising area where this impact can be assessed is a high-resolution terrestrial record from the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, that corresponds to the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a geologically rapid (~170 ky) interval of sustained temperature and aridity shifts about 56 million years ago. The PETM has been extensively studied, but different lines of research have not yet been brought together to compare the timing of shifts in abiotic drivers that include temperature and aridity proxies, and those of biotic drivers, measured through changes in floral and faunal assemblages, to the timing of morphological change within mammalian species lineages. We used a suite of morphometric tools to document morphological changes in molar-crown morphology of three lineages of stem erinaceid eulipotyphlans. We then compared the timing of morphological change to that of both abiotic and other biotic records through the PETM. In all three species lineages, we failed to recover any significant changes in tooth crown shape or size within the PETM. These results contrast with those documented previously for lineages of medium-sized mammals, which show significant dwarfing within the PETM. Our results suggest that biotic drivers such as shifts in community composition may have also played an important role in shaping species-level patterns during this dynamic interval in earth history.

Methods

Please see materials and methods of the associated manuscript for more information on data collection and processing.

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: DGE-1315138

National Science Foundation, Award: BCS-1440558

National Science Foundation, Award: BCS-1440742

National Science Foundation, Award: BCS-1552848

National Science Foundation, Award: EAR-0640076

National Science Foundation, Award: EAR-0719941

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-0208281

National Science Foundation, Award: BCS-1552848